Reigning Top League champions Kobe Kobelco Steelers have added a pair of World Cup Winning All Blacks to their ranks ahead of their new campaign which is set to kick off in January 2021.
Chiefs first-five Aaron Cruden, who will play his 100th game for the Waikato-based side this weekend, and former Highlanders outside back Ben Smith will join the squad for the 2021 Top League season, with their signings confirmed by the club on Friday.
Aaron Cruden will link up with former Highlander and Sunwolves' ace Hayden Parker with the pair tasked with replacing Dan Carter at the Top League side.
The Steelers have a number of New Zealander's on their books with All Blacks star Brodie Retallick returning for his second season of his 18-month sabbatical deal with New Zealand Rugby next year.
Other former Highlanders' Tom Franklin and Richard Buckman are also at the club, as is ex-Chiefs duo Matt vant Leven and Sefo Kautai.
Ben Smith heads to Japan after his stint with Pau came to an abrupt end where he made just seven appearances before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2019-20 season while Aaron Cruden has been playing with the Chiefs after his stint with Montpellier in the Top 14.